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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Seven Fathers...

As siblings called him dad, pops or buda depending on the dictates of the situation. His office colleagues  called him Sir James. Sir Jim was a strong choleric with a towering intellect. He taught us that nothing comes to you except by hard work. You could get passed him with very few things, but the one that could never pass was laziness. I am glad he folded in me the principles of hard work, diligence and self-reliance early in life. They have taken me to the top of my career.

Mr. Akhwale was not my ideal father figure. He was not a personable man, but what he said made a lot of sense to others in the office. I thought it was because he was among the oldest employees in the firm and knew a thing or two about football. But he did have a heart for a young man who had just landed in the accounts section on his first job like a lost puppy in cell with Vikings. After observing, my meek existence in the hostile environment where everyone spent everything they earned, he came up to my desk one day and pushed a set of forms in front of my face and said “fill these”. I had no care of what the forms were about. I just wanted him away from my space. I left the company two years later with $150. The money saved for me by the cooperative. If Mr. Akhwale had not given me those forms I would have left with absolutely nothing! My financial father taught me that it is a good thing to have a job, but it more important to prosper from your work. Since then I religiously reinvest 20% of my earnings and create wealth for myself and family.

My grandfather Enoch, was born of the soil. We didn’t talk much because we did not speak the same language and lived in different times. We hardly met even though we were related. But after I dug his grave, graduated from college and took up my first teaching post, I began my own journey into the world. Later I came to realize the meaning of his last words to me – wherever you go and whatever you do never forget God. A spiritual father is really a misnomer, but in the crisis of life and if you will remain sane, I would rather you had one. Every time I come to the end of reason I go one step higher.

Then there was Sande. In him a mighty man you will not see. At least not a celebrity. But to him all that mattered was that I be sincere even if I was sincerely wrong. As a youth I needed someone to believe in me for me. That was important to me then. He taught me to hold on to my dreams, admit my failings but rise up with integrity to be all that I could be.   He taught me never to lose faith. For without faith no man can be. Everyone needs a mentor.

Mwangura was as unique as they come. When I met him 20 years after I departed from his classroom  he not only recognized me but called me by name and asked after my brother. A classroom is nowhere to meet a father, but he abruptly settled me into the math class and forever framed my paradigm of success. He never rewarded us for being the best in class. The only competition you will face in life is to better yourself. To earn his respect, you had to do better in the next test.

My sixth father was a white man. Hawkins did not know me except for what I presented on a paper CV. But after he interviewed me in the parking lot he made me the manager of his business and promptly left for Europe. To this day I don’t understand why anyone would do such a thing, but that meeting established my lifelong career. I am still feeding off the challenge he placed before me. He said to me- you are stepping out of a Jumbo jet and boarding a biplane; there will be turbulents. Life has taught me that both planes fly. Do it anyway!

My seventh father MacMillan is a man who would gain nothing from standing with me or speaking for me. He believes I have something to offer the world has yet to see. I am still looking. No, this is not a happy father’s day message. It is about my fathers whose impact on me is still working on me 50 years on. To be a father is a special thing. To be a father is; to give a name, to bear the blame, to seek out, to draw out, to challenge, to mentor, to teach, to be strong and stand with the weak. It is to take a risk, to believe and be a bridge to another man’s future and make an eternal difference by touching a life where it matters. Munroe never knew my name, but he had a heart for the third world. By him I expanded my mission to Africa.  Another father passed on this year. Dodman did not do anything special. But always did what needed to be done when it needed to be done. He was reliable. I want to be that when I am done. Be a father to someone.

Allan Bukusi

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Spare a moment to consider the plight of luckless slaves pursued by their benefactors for taxes and treats across the continent. But just who are these slaves? They are ostensibly called the middle-class; the 5% of the population that carries the economic burden of state. While government targets employees in formal employment to pay for legislation that maintains the state; the rest of the population prey on wage earners for the essentials of food, shelter and school fees.

This privileged 5% of the population has an enviable profile. Each will have an education far above the rest of the population. Most live in urban areas where access to the pleasures of life are easiest. Nonetheless in this position they are subject to multiple legislative burdens unheard of in the village. They will be punished for enjoying the privileges of urban existence by paying for everything they consume, use or make an attempt to own. 98% (of the 5%) live in houses they do not own and work on jobs that belong to the upper class, the government and foreign investors. They may drive a car on loan but owning a house is well beyond their reach. The broad majority of the lower middle-class, will be scaling public transport before 8am and after 5pm. While they appear fashionably dressed, a cost they must pay for whatever economic empowerment they earn, their income is frequently raided by inflation and vandalized by any number of pretentious rent seekers.

Nonetheless, while employees have a source of regular income they do not have access to capital! Bank interest rates are so high they do not support individual enterprise. It is better to remain employed than try to break into the murky waters of entrepreneurship. Incidentally the same two benefactors are ready and waiting to punish anyone who thinks of abandoning the employment lines. A host of legal agencies are instructed to punish any initiative to depart from the workforce with licenses, levies and all manner of innovative tolls and tariffs.

Because employees have a number, their records are sped post haste to government advisers who ensure that employment income is directly taxed to the tune of 35% or more of gross earnings to pay for the privilege of being employed and the support of those who escape formal jobs. While employees fund 60-80% of national coffers, their vote (less than 5%) does not influence the economic destiny of the nation. The ballot box remains a balkanized conspiracy of the wealthy, ethnicity and religious bias. No one really cares where the money comes from so long as it is a democracy. Yet the middle class in wealthy nations directly influence the vote.

“The creative class, which comprises a third to more than forty percent of the workforce in the advanced nations, includes scientists and technologists; artists, cultural creatives, and media workers, as well knowledge-based professionals in business, education, and health-care. While the varied members of the working class had physical skills as a shared trait, the diverse groups of workers that make up the creative class all draw on their underlying human creativity. The even larger service class is made up of lower-skill, lower-wage, routine service occupations in fields like health care support, food preparation and service, low-end retail, and office and administrative positions.” GLOBAL CREATIVTY INDEX 2015.

The global creativity index lists talent, technology and tolerance as the keys to economic advancement  and credits the creative class as the drivers. Luxemburg has a creative class of 54%, Singapore 47%, United Kingdom 44% and USA 33%. Ghana stands at 8.61%, Rwanda 3.76 % but the majority of countries in Africa are unlisted. It is not hard to see that while the working class in the west creates wealth, the working class in Africa is drained of the wealth it creates. Around the world the middle class is known for its professionalism, creativity, productivity and enterprise. Unfortunately the percentage of the middle class in Africa is shrinking. Economic slaves are dying younger by the generation. They hardly remain employed more than a few years. They are coming under such pressure as to abandon the state and migrate to other nations where they can enjoy a measure of the wealth they earn and send a little back home by western union, Mpesa and a number of other transfer vehicles.

The reason I plead for employees is that there can be no meaningful development and national growth without the empowerment of the people of a land. While skewed per capita incomes and GDPs can be manufactured by inviting a few foreign investors to put up factories, real empowerment only comes from the creativity of the people. Unless this 5% is nurtured, encouraged expanded and empowered countries will continue to fleece the life out of its wealth creating citizenry. But to whom do I plead? My plea is to policy makers at all levels and every sphere of society to ensure that policy is not punitive to wealth creators and discouraging to innovators to the extent that it kills the will to take initiative to produce value.

While I have a great concern for the plight of employees across Africa, I am desperately worried about the majority of employees who do not comprehend that they create wealth and consign themselves to be slaves! After producing wealth for their employers, economic slaves retire distraught, disillusioned and penniless. Distraught; when they look back at how much they have earned and yet do not own. Disillusioned; because they were promised that education and employment would elevate them from poverty. And penniless; because they have no clue as to the purpose or principles of money!

Allan Bukusi is the author of

Friday, September 1, 2017

Why I want you to be creative!

Why do I want you to be creative? Because creative people rule the world! Creative people are rich – in many ways. They solve problems we could not be bothered to imagine. Creative people think and do. Most of us do because we are told to; creative people think and make and do for us what we could not be bothered to do it for ourselves. Creative people explore the life the rest of us find a chore. While creative people achieve, the rest merely receive. Creative people make the future the rest of us live it.  We pay creative people to entertain us, to serve us and to show us the way. Most of us aspire for no more than a challenge creative people make the challenge, recreate the challenge and live beyond it. Creatives set goals when most of us are satisfied with roles. Creatives see things, sense things and question things. They ponder and mull things and do things differently. Creative people never lack things to do, they do what is available, what they need to do and then do some more. The rest of us make do with what comes our way and if it does not come, we do not go out of our way to look for it. While most of us are prepared to go the extra mile, creative people go all the way! To be creative is the reason you were created. To create is to find meaning in life, create value for the world and leave a legacy. Creativity will lead you to a career and if there is none your creativity will make a career for you. Find what you were made to create and get to it. Nothing more can be more fulfilling. Nothing more can be more of a calling. Nothing more can be so gripping. Nothing more can be more of a reason to be. Get to it and get to be.

Allan Bukusi


Sunday, August 27, 2017

In the face of the setting sun.

The assignment; life! The method; character, competence and confidence. Courage is the capacity to do life, yet failure comes early to the brave. Nonetheless, the lesson of failure is only a step, alongside the way of knowledge, wisdom, understanding and diligence.

Courage; the ability to do, to go and to be. It is the energy and mastery to become. To face your fears and work through your tears may take you many years. But there is no shame in effort and sacrifice that moves you closer to a noble goal. Every step, though others may not see, is victory. Victory, you see, is not born at the end of a thing nor is it in its convincing. Victory is in the conviction of the beginning to stay the course.

There is no shame in struggle, for the outcome may not be yours to handle. But in determination, perseverance and striving for, is the celebration of the human spirit to dominate the earth. Come my son, go my daughter - take hold of life with Spirit. Take it for none can withhold it from you.

Be mindful of the heart, but let it not trick you to take a trail to no avail. For vanity hides easily among lies and deceit. Courage is the high road, all else is hollow. It matters not how long you live nor how far you travel, but how well you live and the legacy you leave, creates a path that others will follow. And when all is said and you stand alone in the face of the setting sun, by the grace of God His will be done.

Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Significance of Life

You did not have a say over your date of birth or day of eventual demise. Nonetheless, your achievement in life will be determined by three important choices; your choice of god, your choice of spouse and the use of money. Your choice of god will determine what you define as success, how you live and what you want out of life. This choice will prioritize your work, engagement and worthwhile pursuits in life. Your choice of spouse, your life’s prime companion, will affect your state of joy, peace, contentment and happiness in life. However much or little resources come into your possession in this life – none will be transferred to the next. The way you choose to use the resources available to you is more important than the amount of money you accumulate and will determine the quality of your life on earth. When all is said and done it is not the independence of these three that makes a life, but the alignment of the three that decides your life’s significance. 

Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Strong White

There was once a farmer who needed to plough his farm and get rid of pests on his land. The farmer worked hard, but was not able to till all the land and the insects ate much of his crop while it was still in the field. One morning he told his wife he was going to the market.

When the farmer arrived at the market he found a horse trader. He bought a strong white horse and then went over to the fly catchers den and bought a chameleon called Color. In those days chameleons used to help people get rid of insects. The interesting trio of a strong white horse, a chameleon called color and a tired farmers arrived home late at night to eat, rest and prepare for work the next day. At night the horse turned to the chameleon and said, “My name is Strong White what is yours”. The Chameleon said, “well I don’t have to be strong I just change color, play dead and get to eat the insects”.

The next morning the farmer took his new team to the field and White pulled the plough through the mud and got himself all dirty. Color, the Chameleon, put on his dead color and ate all the insects that passed by. The farmer was very happy with their work. In the evening White had to take a bath and thought that color should too. But Color was too lazy to clean himself up and went to work the next day without taking a bath. This went on for many days until Color began to emit an awful smell. White pleaded with Color to clean himself as he was beginning to raise quite a stink! White told Color, “You only have to look dead, not smell dead to do your job”. But Color just laughed and would not listen to White and said, “I told you I don’t have to be strong like you all I need to do is play dead”.

One day a vulture appeared in the sky above. Vultures do not have very good eyesight, but they can smell a dead frog from a mile away. That night White mentioned the vulture, but color said, “No one can see me when I change color”. The following day the vulture appeared again slowly circling the farm. When Color had eaten enough for the day he settled down to sleep. That was when it happened. In one sweep of its wings the vulture swooped down and gulped up Color in less than a second. Strong White never saw Color ever again.  

Allan Bukusi

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Wedding Dress & The Dish Cloth

A long time ago when men used to leave their wives in the Homelands and go to work in the South African Gold mines, there was a man whose dear wife passed away and left him with twin girls aged ten years old. The conditions in the Gold mines were very dangerous and it was not uncommon for men to die in the mines from exhaustion and accidents. The men who survived the grueling experience often came home sick and unable to work on the farms. However, the money was good and was enough to cater for the needs of a poor family.

The man took his daughters to his widowed mother’s house and asked her to take care of them. He turned to the girls and said to them, "Now my dear ones you are young and beautiful I am going to work, but you must prepare for your wedding day". Your grandmother is wise and will guide you. You must listen to her carefully because she will give you what you want. The young girls were excited and said goodbye to their father as he took a train to Gauteng Province.

After many months a letter arrived for grandma. Inside were two envelopes – One for each of the girls. Each had the same amount for money inside and clearly labeled. The man had become sick, but sent the money home and wrote – "This is my present for each of my girls. Guide them, but give them what they want". As the girls grew they began to notice that other girls in their class had many things they wanted, but did not have.

One of the girls began to get impatient and asked grandma for rings, cream and new dresses. Grandma reminded them of what their daddy had told them - they must prepare for their wedding day. But this was too much for Joyce who wanted everything today! Grandma did not have the strength to refuse and let her have what she wanted. Unfortunately, Daddy never came back.

On the night before the twins wedding day, for they were to be married on the same day, Grandma gave each girl her envelope from their father and told them. “He wanted each of you to have a beautiful dress”. Jane took her envelope and went and bought a beautiful white dress, but all that was left in Joyce envelope was only enough to buy a dish cloth.

Allan Bukusi